Mercilessly bullied as a child, Justin responded by transforming himself into a champion MMA fighter. Yet despite his success, he quietly questioned the significance of his own athletic accomplishments. Each time his hand was raised in victory he thought, “Is this it? Is this as good as it gets?” As he fought his way to the top and battled never-ending injuries that accompany the profession, he slid into pain-killer addiction, battled depression and attempted suicide. He was a champion on the outside, but broken within.
It wasn’t until a chance collection of circumstances led Justin to one of the most remote places on earth, to live in the rainforest among the Pygmy people, some of the most impoverished and marginalized people on the planet, that he found his true purpose – helping others.
‘When I stopped fighting for myself and started fighting for others I felt passion, I felt purpose, and that is what led to my greatest impact.’
From that experience, ‘The Big Pygmy’ returned to the ring with purpose, founding the non-profit Fight For The Forgotten (FFTF) along the way. Since 2013, FFTF has provided more than 52,000 indigenous people with access to clean drinking water, replanted thousands of trees, acquired more than 3,000 acres of land in the name of the tribe and helped 1,800 people out of slavery and into freedom. Current projects include housing, education, healthcare and sustainable livelihoods through community empowerment.
Today, Justin shares his remarkable story on stages across the country and around the world teaching others the tools, tactics and techniques to navigate any adversity, find purpose, and achieve meaningful impact in business and in life.